Friday, December 26, 2014

Tsunami - 10 years

It's been 10 years since then Boxing Day Tsunami which not only caused severe damage in 14 countries, but took the lives of about 250,000 people. Some are still missing. I thought I'd make a post talking a bit about the tsunami and the effects and stories I heard of and saw during my holiday in Khao Lak this winter. 

As I probably mentioned before, Khao Lak was one of the places most severely hit by the tsunami, and also the place where most of the tourists died. Out of the 179 Finnish people who died in the tsunami, 170 were staying in Khao Lak. During our very first day at the white sand beach we met a Swedish man who had traveled to Thailand for several years now and he said that only now, 10 years after the disaster, is it starting to look the way it did before the tsunami. 
Khao Lak before & after. Our hotel was situated somewhere near the cape. Below a picture of our hotel before & after.

The owner of our favorite restaurant told us that he was the first one to open up his restaurant in Pakarang in 2005. When we asked him if he was afraid of a new wave, he said of course. He said that specially now that it's been 10 years, it might come again. I often thought of all of the locals, how friendly they were and just genuinely polite and thoughtful; all of them must have someone, a family member, friend or neighbor they've lost. And somehow life goes on. 

The tsunami has left a permanent mark which can be seen in different ways. In Pakarang pretty close to our hotel, they've built a tsunami evacuation building. The word "tsunami" on the building was covered in blankets, perhaps they thought it could be upsetting for some to see. You could also see tsunami warning signs next to roads. In Kaho Lak center, a military boat got carried inland with the huge waves. The boat has been left where it was stranded and now serves as a memorial site. 

I cannot ever understand what the people who have experienced or lost someone to the tsunami must have gone through in their process of trying to deal with the tragedy. My thoughts are with you. How someone can go through losing your whole family is beyond my understanding, and it makes every small problem I have seem so irrelevant. I guess it is a reminder of how fragile a human life really is, and that we should cherish every moment we get to send with the people we love.

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